ZIMBABWE – AIR Zimbabwe yesterday said it would resume regional flights next month, while it plans to increase its domestic flights from three to four per week.
International flights would remain suspended while the national airline deals with International Air Transport Association (IATA) operational safety audits.
Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Innocent Mavhunga said there would be an additional domestic flight on Sunday with effect from November 4 2012.
He said three existing flights that are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday would remain. Mr Mavhunga said the Johannesburg flight would resume on November 12, 2012 and would be serviced on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Turning to IATA operational safety registration, Mr Mavhunga said the process had been shelved to the end of this year as the Government was making efforts to ensure the full resumption of services.
“Since the IOSA audit focuses on consistent functioning and deployment of operational processes and systems, the airline took a deliberate decision to defer the audit owing to the obtaining operational challenges,” said Mr Mavhunga.
“However, as the public may be aware, the shareholder has already taken several initiatives to resuscitate the airline, hence Air Zimbabwe has now scheduled the IOSA audit towards the end of 2012.”
IOSA, said Mr Mavhunga, did not rank an airline in terms of being safe or unsafe and it was not used by the International Civil Aviation Authorities to ban airlines from flying. “IOSA is an evaluation method designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline,” he said.
“It is based on globally recognised and accepted audit standards as defined by IATA for its membership. “However, IOSA registration is a prerequisite for the retention of IATA membership as it confirms that an airline complies with all approved audit standards at the time of the audit.”
Mr Mavhunga said the IOSA registration had a timeline of two years and Air Zimbabwe’s current registration expired on June 13, 2012, but was subsequently extended to September 12 in accordance with the provision of IATA’s Articles of Association.
“We would like to assure our stakeholders that with the support of the shareholder through our parent ministry, we are working tirelessly to bring all our operations back to normal and that the airline is committed as ever to provide safe, reliable and competitive service,” he said.